The solution to America's problems lies in retooling public education? We hear you, Mr. Friedman!
In his October 20 opinion piece “The New Untouchables” Thomas Friedman submits that addressing America’s current jobless rate and economic downturn by fixing only the banks and financial institutions is like putting a bandaid on a severe wound. What’s needed, Friedman says, is repairing the public education system, too.
It’s past time to consider what’s necessary to succeed …
He makes a strong case. We as a country got caught up in attaining The American Dream and failed to continuously align public education with our evolving goals and expectations. Now American workers are paying for that myopic mindset, having lost the competitive edge over foreign workers and even robots and computers. Those who are currently succeeding and will continue to thrive, Friedman says, are those with the gumption “to invent smarter ways to do old jobs, energy-saving ways to provide new services, new ways to attract old customers or new ways to combine existing technologies.” These people, says Friedman, are the untouchables.
… but we can make changes that will better position our future.
At a time when a college degree isn’t the ticket to success it once provided, we need to be smarter about school and teach skills that go beyond facts and figures. To Friedman, that means improving “entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity.”
Haiku Learning’s take: we’re already on our way
Friedman may be right, and we’re glad he spoke up. While a retooling of the public school system gets debated and worked out at a national level, we’re seeing a grassroots movement in the Haiku community that indicates individual schools and teachers are already pushing in new directions. They’re setting up virtual classes that support their real-world classrooms, and in many cases the courses are exclusively online. They’re challenging students to think beyond what they read on the page and to apply knowledge and reasoning that really stretch their thinking.